When I first started blogging back in 2009, I did so with the intention that only my family and real life friends would be reading it. I figured blogging was an easy way to avoid having the exact same "So, how's Canberra?" conversation five times a week.
As is usually the way, writing a blog leads to reading dozens and dozens of other blogs. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled across Rachael King's blog. And that led to a whole group of other blogs. And they all had one thing on common: they were all members of a website called 20Something Bloggers.
So, after some further investigation and a small case of "oh God, what am I doing??", I signed up. And it changed my life forever. The forums were equal parts hilarious, feelsy and ridiculous. The chat was...usually pretty dead at times I was able to hang out in there, but it was still hilarious and over the top and brilliant.
When 20SB announced that they were holding a summit in Chicago about two weeks before I was planning on going to the US in 2011, I made the rather rash and spontaneous decision to change my plans and go. To a city where I knew no one. To attend a summit with a bunch of people I'd never met before. I didn't even know if anyone I knew was actually going to go, but I took the chance anyway.
And sure, it was nerve wracking. And sure, I basically spent half of the cocktail party sitting in a corner in terror. But it was so, so worth it.
So many of my best friends came out of the 20SB community. People that I talk to every day. People that I collaborate with every day. People whose faces I get to see on a daily basis every August. People who understand. People who are there when I need someone to talk to. People who send me ridiculous emails and text messages and tweets. People in countries all over the world who I can't live without.
Tomorrow, the 20SB community is closing down. And though I haven't been active there since I turned 30, I'll miss it enormously. So here's to us, 20SBers. Life may not have always been easy, but we've had each other's backs the whole way. And I'm grateful for each and every one of you.
Except that girl who cheated me out of a chicken trophy. I hope she stands on a Lego*.
*What? No, I'm not even remotely bitter about something that happened three years ago........